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The Prime Minister of Norway opened Scatec solar plant in Rwanda

East Africa’s first utility-scale solar plant will increase Rwanda’s power generation capacity by approximately 8%.

Picture: Fabien Izabayo, worker at the solar plant from Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, and the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg. Photo: Scatec Solar.

Oslo – Kigali, 3 July 2014

Scatec Solar, the integrated independent solar power producer, has in partnership with Norfund and its co-investor KLP, Norway’s largest life insurance company, and developer Gigawatt Global Coöperatief, successfully developed, financed and built the solar plant. The Prime Minister's visit marks the start of a test-production period where 25% of the plant will be in operation. The plant will be completed and in full production by August. It will contribute significantly towards the government’s objective to increase fivefold the electricity generation capacity in the country and to give 50% of its population access to electricity by 2017. The cost of the electricity will be significantly lower than today’s heavy and costly reliance on diesel generation.

The plant creates important development effects in the form of increased access to electricity and jobs. Access to energy is a prerequisite for increased standard of living, and fundamental to run a business and create employment opportunities. More than 350 workers have received training to work on site during construction. All unskilled labor needed for the project has been hired locally. The training educates the local workers in both building PV plants and working under western health and safety standards. The finished plant will generate 20-30 long term employment opportunities.

- An important goal for Norfund has been to increase investments in renewable energy in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as broadening our portfolio to include more solar power, Kjell Roland, CEO of Norfund said. We are therefore very happy that Scatec Solar wanted to utilize their experience from South Africa in Rwanda, and we look forward to contribute to increased electricity supply in the country, Mr. Roland said.

In the picture from right: Inge Stølen, Senior Investment Manager, Norfund; Mark Davis, Head of Department Renewable Energy, Norfund; Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg;  Raymond Carlsen, CEO of Scatec Solar; Chaim Motzen, Gigawatt Global, and Ntare Karitanyi, Director General of EWSA (national utility). Photo: Scatec Solar.

– Our objective has been to bring the experience we’ve gained from our large projects in South Africa to other African nations, and we are pleased to team up with our partners in Norfund (and KLP) to introduce large scale solar energy to Rwanda and Eastern Africa, Raymond Carlsen, CEO of Scatec Solar said. - The power purchase agreement with the national utility was signed in July 2013 and the solar plant is operational only a year later, demonstrating that with the combined efforts of experienced partners and national authorities, solar energy is fast and cost effective to implement, Mr. Carlsen said.

The land is located 60 km from the capital of Kigali and belongs to the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, a residential and educational community for youth orphaned during and after the genocide in 1994. The youth village is leasing land to house the solar facility, the fees from which will help pay for a portion of the Village's charitable expenses.

Read more in the press release here.